Webb, Catherine (1859–1947)

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Webb, Catherine (1859–1947)

English cooperative leader . Born in 1859; died in 1947.

Catherine Webb became a force in the women's cooperative movement in England towards the end of the 19th century, through her establishment of the Battersea branch of the Women's Cooperative Guild in London in 1886. Her book Woman with a Basket (1927) detailed the history of the guild, and she also contributed to its visibility through lectures. She inherited her interest in the cooperative movement from her coppersmith father who was also director of the Cooperative Wholesale Society. Webb's progressive outlook could be traced to her mother whose wide-ranging interests included astronomy and polar exploration, which was then a matter of considerable public fascination.

In addition to her efforts on behalf of the Battersea guild, Webb became a member of the Cooperative Union's Central Board and contributed to a better understanding of the cooperative movement in general with her editing of what became its standard text, Industrial Co-operation, in 1904. Her later years brought an increasing interest in adult education, and she served as governor of Morley College in south London prior to her death in 1947.

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland

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